The Maple State – Say Scientist
Release Date: February 25, 2008
Record Label: High Voltage
Imagine a band that combines the off-kilter sensibilities of Morrissey and Weezer with the organized chaos of Taking Back Sunday, and you have Manchester, England's The Maple State in a (diverse) nutshell. I first heard about TMS over a year ago while browsing our general forum's Eurokids thread late one night, and was hooked. The band released Say Scientist, their six-song mini-album, in January, but it has yet to win the acclaim it deserves.
From the very beginning, you'll notice how bold Say Scientist is. At times, it might qualify as "too bold," when the vocals take over the song despite plenty of entertainment behind Gregory Counsell, the band's lead singer. On the mini-album's opener, "We Swear by the Light Life," Counsell belts it out at the upper end of his register, Adam Lazzara-style, as The Maple State quickly captures listeners' attention with an impressive and hard-hitting indie-rock number. Airy keyboards and handclap drumming highlight the title track, which offers a keen balance between vocals and instrumentals that seemed neglected on the album's opener. "Don't Take Holidays" seems to channel Morrissey a bit stylistically, with some shouted gang vocals to mix it up some; the execution of the song leaves a lot to be desired, however.
"Temperate Lives" is about a step too slow, but the refrain is quite catchy; it just needs a little more punch behind the song to make it more memorable in the overall scheme of the album. "Starts with Dean Moriarty (Bad Sign)" is highlighted by a heavy racket going on behind Counsell's vocals; in fact, at times they're so far down in the mix that it becomes hard to understand him over the rhythm section's rather entertaining civil war. "You and Me and an X-Ray Machine" strives to be a strong album closer, and it does just that—combining the best elements of Say Scientist into one song. The mix is just right, the melody is entertaining, and it wraps up the album admirably, even with a slower number.
Be forewarned—The Maple State might be your new obsession. They're hip enough for the indie kids, pop enough for the rock kids, and flashy enough to flag down those music nomads searching for good new music. While there's a few minor gripes about this mini-album, mostly with how it was mixed, Say, Scientist allows fans the world over to meet The Maple State, another UK indie-rock band that has the talent to turn heads left and right. Don't be left in the dark; if you're fans of any of the bands listed in the review's introduction, get your hands on The Maple State's Say, Scientist before they hop across the Atlantic and blow up like the Arctic Monkeys did a few years back.
I really like this CD. I probably still prefer their first EP, but the line "...not so fucking chipper" on this new EP is sung so great and there's just a few moments of brilliance. I'd agree about the mix, the bass seems a bit too high for me.
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